Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Poinsettia Care

Around this time of year I receive many calls about caring for newly purchased poinsettias. This information from the NCSU Department of Horticulture Science should help to answer some of those questions. For additional information, please feel free to contact me.

The poinsettia that you bought or received for Christmas should retain its beauty for many weeks if you take proper care of it. Horticulturists have done an excellent job of breeding new poinsettia varieties with long-lasting qualities. Here is what you should do to extend the beauty of your poinsettias:
Place your poinsettia in the sunniest portion of the room. It needs a minimum of 75 foot candles of natural or artificial light.

Avoid cold drafts from doorways or excess heat from television sets, radiators or heating ducts. Water your plant thoroughly when needed. Make sure a small amount of the water that is applied drips through the drainage holes of the container. If your poinsettia came wrapped with decorative foil, punch a hole in the foil beneath the pot to allow excess water to escape. Place the plant on a saucer to prevent damage to furniture.

To retain the bright color of the bracts, keep your poinsettia at temperatures not exceeding 70 degrees F. The temperatures should not dip below 50 degrees F.

If you are going to try to keep your poinsettia for a couple of months, you should fertilize it with a dilute fertilizer solution. Use a soluble, complete fertilizer, such as 20-10-20, twice each month.

Contrary to frequent reports, the bracts and foliage of poinsettias are not poisonous. So enjoy your poinsettias.

Amaryllis Adds Color to Any Holiday Event

The Bullington Center has chosen and potted beautiful amaryllis with lily-like flowers for you to purchase this Holiday Season.

When used as a potted plant for a special occasion, the amaryllis provides spectacular flower colors and effects. They come in a wide range of flower colors from red, pink and white to combinations of these.

The bulbs for sale at the Bullington Center are red and a nice shade of pink.
When properly handled and cared for properly, an amaryllis bulb may produce flowers for up to 75 years. Good quality bulbs of named varieties may produce up to six flowers on a single stalk.

The bulbs will be for sale at Bullington through December 19th. For more information, call 698-6104.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Bullington Christmas Tree

The Henderson County Master Gardeners have been working hard on creating hand made ornaments for a tree decorating contest at the Asheville Airport. The decorated tree is on display through the end of December. All of the ornaments are made entirely out of natural botanicals from the mountains of North Carolina.

See the picture above for an extraordinary example of their creativity.
The prize money awarded will go to the charity of choice, which is the Bullington Horticulture Learning Center. Please go to www.flyavl.com then click on holiday contest and vote for tree number 11; the most votes wins Peoples Choice - (4th prize).

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Advantages of Real Trees

Did you ever think that by using a live Christmas tree in your house that you were actually helping the environment? Real trees help the environment from the time they are planted until after the holiday season when they can be recycled.
While they are growing, Christmas trees support life by absorbing carbon dioxide and other gases while giving off fresh oxygen. Every acre of Christmas trees planted gives off enough oxygen to meet the needs of 18 people. Today in America there are enough Christmas trees planted that 18 million people a day are supplied with oxygen. Also, the farms that grow Christmas trees stabilize soil, protect water supplies, and provide a refuge for wildlife while creating a nice scenic view. Often, Christmas trees are grown on soil that will not support any other crops. And when one Christmas tree is cut down, one or two are replanted in its place.
Artificial trees are made from oil-based products that use up our natural resources. They are also not recyclable and will remain in land-fills for centuries after disposal.
Real Christmas trees, on the other hand, are recyclable. The branches and trunk are biodegradable and can be made into mulch for the garden. A Christmas tree placed in the back yard will make a nice bird feeder and the birds can also use the trees branches for shelter during the winter winds. Large quantities of trees make effective barriers on beaches to prevent soil erosion. Sunk into ponds, the trees will also make an excellent refuge and feeding area for fish.